Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus, a status it has enjoyed for 1000 years since the 10th century, though its beginnings date back 5000 years to the Bronze Age. It lies roughly in the centre of the island in the Mesaoria Plain, flanked by the beautiful northern range of Kyrenia mountains with its distinctive 'Pentadaktylos" - the five finger mountain. There are various suggestions as to the origin of the name Nicosia - or 'Lefkosia' In Greek - but the most likely one is linked to the popular tree, the tall 'Lefki ' which once adorned the city.
Seat of Government, Diplomatic headquarters and cultural centre of Cyprus, the capital presents two distinct faces: the old, original part of the city, surrounded by sturdy Venetian walls over 400 years old, and a busy modern metropolis which has a population of 171.000 together with the suburbs. . .
Within the large area encircled by the strong bastion walls that served to protect the town for centuries are many places of great historic interest.
Nicosia is the only divided capital left in Europe and is separated by the "Green Line" which is the United Nations buffer zone separating Greek and Turkish area's of Cyprus. There is only one crossing point near the Ledra Palace Hotel with the other side.
The old city stands within Venetian walls which date back more than 400 years, with many of the streets having been pedestrianised. Housed within these walls are a number of shops as well as the Cyprus Museum, St John's Cathedral and some Byzantine churches.
Beyond the walls is the new city, which is home to more shops, modern hotels and offices, schools and suburban districts. Nicosia is a cultural city and is host to a cultural centre, an arts centre, and a number of theatres and cinemas. An expatriate living here would rarely be short of things to do.
The central Eleftheria Square links old Nicosia with the elegant modern city that has grown up outside the walls, where hotels, offices restaurants and gardens blend happily with the fine old houses and colonial buildings of this cosmopolitan city.